The Aeneid represents one of the greatest cultural and artistic achievements of Western Civilization. Within the brooding and melancholy atmosphere of Virgil's pious masterpiece lies the mythic story of Aeneas and his flight from burning Troy, taking with him across the Mediterranean the survivors of the Greek onslaught. Aeneas, after many travails and adventures, including a love affair with Dido Queen of Carthage and a visit to the underworld to see his father, ends up in Italy. He fights and wins a war against mighty Turnus and his Latins, thereby founding the city of Rome and beginning that line of Roman aristocracy which was to end with the great Caesars. With this mighty epic, Virgil glorified the Roman Empire and Augustus in the divine light of Olympian predestination, suggesting a higher power at work in the affairs of Rome. But ultimately,
The Aeneid suggests that violence cannot be justified, and that mankind must deal with the consequences of violence whether born of malevolent gods or men.
The greatness of The Aenied lies in its ability to envelope the listener in an aura of spiritual longing, an effect that hitherto had never been accomplished in ancient literature. This was one of the reasons why The Aeneid remained so popular throughout the Middle Ages. Early Christians were greatly impressed by the pious, noble quality of the hero Aeneas, and to them Virgil was an accessible bridge between the pagan world and their own. And his work remained the model for epic poetry right through the Renaissance and beyond. Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton owe a debt of gratitude to Virgil and The Aeneid which can never be repaid.
The Aeneid is organized into 12 books. This recording includes a brief synopsis of the story prior to the beginning of each book in order to help the listener understand the action of the verse.